Nvidia Shows Off Tegra 4 CPU, Phoenix Reference Design Phone

Nvidia's been on a roll of late. After announcing its next-gen Tegra 4 platform at CES, the company recently unveiled its lower-cost Tegra 4i CPU with integrated LTE modem. Now, here at Mobile World Congress, the company is demonstrating the graphics prowess of both chips, showing off a speedy reference design Tegra 4i phone called "Phoenix" and an unnamed Tegra 4 tablet that provides extra effects in specially optimized games.

Phoenix Reference Design

Nvidia made the 5-inch, 1080p Phoenix reference design handset just to show OEMs how well its Tegra 4i processor and integrated LTE modem can work in a handset. The simple black plastic design won't win any beauty contests, but we don't expect anything that looks exactly the Phoenix to come to market anyway. In addition to its 1080p screen, the Phoenix packs a rather large 13-MP camera into its svelte frame.

Though the device we saw was still a prototype, Nvidia Director of Product Marketing Matt Wuebbling was able to demonstrate the device playing Real Boxing a very rich 3D boxing game. As he tried to punch another character, we could see the detailed shadowing and textures on the right, the background behind it and the boxers' skin tone. Clearly, the Tegra 4i is fast enough to do some serious gaming, despite its status as a mid-range chip.

Tegra 4 and Gaming

Nvidia's high-end CPU is its new 1.9-GHz Tegra 4, which has a whopping 72 GPU cores. As we watched, an Nvidia rep played a game of Zombie Driver on a Tegra 4 reference tablet, with the game showing a lot of smoke and detailed textures around the car you control. He also showed us the video below, which outlines the stark graphical differences between playing the game with and without a Tegra 4 processor.

 A number of game publishers have already announced that they'll be adding additional features for Tegra 4 systems in the following upcoming titles: ARMA Tactics, Bloodsword, Burn Zombie Burn, Codex the Warrior, Dead Trigger 2, Real Boxing, Riptide 2, Rochard, RU Golf, Space Ark, Vampire Hunter and, of course, Zombie Driver.

We look forward to getting a better look at Nvidia Tegra 4 and really putting it through its paces when the chip appears in tablets and phones later this year.

Avram Piltch
Online Editorial Director
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of Laptopmag.com since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master's degree in English from NYU.